We Answer You With Life

80 stabbings, 29 shootings, 10 car-rammings. That’s the official breakdown on terror attacks over the past ten weeks—though who knows, by the time I press the publish button on this blog piece, those numbers may need to be updated. In case you’re bad at math, that’s almost 2 attacks per day.

That is what we are been living with in Israel, while the world looks at France and Mali, and John Kerry differentiates between justified and unjustified terror. It’s what the Schwartz family lives with in Sharon, Massachusetts, as a blasé State Department Spokesman did everything but yawn as he offered “deepest condolences” to the family.

That is the message we have received over and over again.

It is the message we received from a UN, which, despite our almost two terror attacks daily since September 14, is set to adopt 20 new resolutions against Israel, but only three resolutions on the rest of the countries of the world combined. This is the response of the world to terrorists shooting parents dead in front of their small children, terrorists shooting to death a young gap year student from Massachusetts and a beloved local high school teacher, a terrorist car-ramming and subsequent hacking to death by meat cleaver of an elderly rabbi whose only crime was waiting for the bus on a Jerusalem street.

Ezra Schwartz, HY"D.
Ezra Schwartz, HY”D.

The message comes in the utter lack of any context in international news reports as a bride and groom call off their wedding because the bride’s father and brother are shot to death on the way to the pre-nuptial Shabbat celebration. Because when terror kills Jews, it’s justified.

Israel is to blame for all these deaths you see, because Israel builds homes in a part of their homeland that Arabs insist must be Judenrein: a Jew-free zone. Israel is to blame for all these deaths because  it won’t give more of its sliver of land to those determined to kill them, while 22 oil-rich Arab states do nothing to help their brethren. Israel is at fault for all these deaths because Arab terrorists have no hope and no money, and apparently, this is what people with no hope and no money do. They kill Jews.

Actually, that last part is/was the rationale for Hitler’s Final Solution. The fact that the German economy tanked was the Jews’ fault. So the solution was to kill them all.

Then everybody would be happy.

Rav Yaakov Don, HY"D
Rav Yaakov Don, HY”D

The fact that the Jews refuse to die makes everyone very, very angry. It has always made them angry. And thus, the world justifies the way it treats the Jews. The Greeks invaded Israel and didn’t let the Jews observe their religion. They slaughtered pigs on the altar of the holy Jewish Temple. There was the Destruction of the Temple and the forced Dispersion of the Jews by the Romans, there were the Christian Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Muslim Conquest and Dhimmitude of the Jews, the Holocaust—and this is just a partial list.

So today it’s Arabs. Actually, it was the Arabs since before the Holocaust. It was the Arabs in 1929 who murdered my husband’s cousin from Chicago who was studying at the Slabodka Yeshiva in Hebron. It was the Arabs who killed Jews, mad with hate as they were after the Mufti of Jerusalem spoke from the Temple Mount and incited his followers to slay the Jews; saying that they, the Jews, wanted to wrest the Temple Mount from Arab hands. It was the Brits who let the Arabs into Safed and Hebron and locked the gates and turned their backs, turned deaf ears to the cries of women being raped, their eyes gouged out, babies cut up into pieces, children made orphans as they looked the other way.

And it was Europe who failing to implement its Final Solution, helped finance the building of the State of Israel, so they could gather the Jews all in one place. Makes it easier for next time, you know (think Iran Deal). And then the Brits took away 78% of the land they promised the Jews and gave it to the Arabs. That was Jordan, the first Palestinian state.

But the Arabs weren’t satisfied. Not with that and not with Partition. So they killed more Jews.

Nitzan, Gush Katif
Graffiti in Nitzan: You will not break our spirit. (photo credit: RealJStreets)

And the Jews gave them Gaza.

But they weren’t satisfied. Not with Jordan and Gaza. Not with self-determination in parts of Judea and Samaria. Not with control over the Jewish Temple Mount.

They are never satisfied and so they are still killing Jews. And the world justifies this. The UN finances this. Germany finances this. They all do.

President Obama seethes with anger when a Jew builds an addition on his home so his grandkids can stay over for Shabbat.


All this could really make a Jew nuts, you know? It makes you sad, constantly watchful, and tense. Very tense. It hurts. Sometimes it hurts to wake up in the morning. Sometimes it hurts to read the news. To kiss your kids goodbye when they leave for school, because you feel how very precious they are and what would you do if. But no. We don’t allow those thoughts.

Sometimes I live in this very dark place. We all do. So we do whatever it takes to snap out of it. I pound on the piano. I sing. I scream into a pillow. I do acts of loving kindness for a neighbor or a friend. I overeat. And my neighbors and friends do whatever works for them.

And I know through all of this we’ll be okay. Because the Jews are like steel. We gain strength by being held  to the fire. And we never pack it in.

Those who do, effectively divorce themselves from those of us who don’t. They couldn’t take it, the trial by fire. So they cave. They are JStreet, and JVP. They are Open Hillel, and all the other Jews who just crumble at being THE JEW, who can’t take the finger pointed at them throughout the centuries. Survival of the fittest. They didn’t make it.

Jeremy Ben Ami, Founder of JStreet.
Jeremy Ben Ami, Founder of JStreet.

But I will.

And so will so many of us. Enough to keep it going, to keep that wheel turning. Enough to show up at a rescheduled wedding that means a new Jewish household established in Israel. A new Jewish couple who will faithfully keep the faith with all its rituals, and bring Jewish children into this world. No doubt they will have at least two beautiful Jewish children to name after a father and brother who robbed of their lives by evil, watched the wedding from on high.

Because the Jewish life force cannot be squelched by terror. Because the Jewish life force is a promise from God, a covenant with Bnei Yisrael, the Children of Israel, the “Yahud,” as the Arabs call  the Jews, the Yehudim from Yehuda, the Jews from Judea, where the Gush Etzion Junction is situated. Where Hadar Buchris was stabbed for the crime of being a Jew. Hadar, who more than anything, dreamed of having children.

Others will have children and name them for her.

Because this is the Jewish answer to terror. It is God’s answer to the Arabs who dare to covet the land God gave to the Jews.

The Jewish answer to terror then, to those who commit suicide killing others, is life. They pass out candies to celebrate death while we say L’chaim, to Life!

They celebrate murder in the streets, with sweets.
They celebrate murder in the streets, with sweets.

The answer is marriage, establishing homes, having babies. This is the answer we Israelis give to those who want to kill us: more babies, more Jewish lives. More Jews to sanctify God’s name and his holy Torah.

Sure. You can kill us here and there, wherever you find us, whenever you can. You can kill many of us, God forbid.

And still, we will insist on life. We WILL establish new households and we will have children we cosset and encourage to honor the life force and defend their people and learn God’s holy Torah. We will never stop.

The million-person Litman-Biegel wedding. (photo credit: TheRealJerusalemStreets)
The million-person Litman-Biegel wedding. (photo credit: RealJStreets)

You cannot stop us. You could not stop us with gas chambers and a well-oiled German killing machine, and you certainly will not stop us with knives, guns, car-rammings, stones, and Molotov cocktails. Because God won’t let you win this one.

Just as He didn’t let you win the last one, or the one before that. We have Him on our side, you see. There is no other explanation.

Because it is a miracle we exist.

And so our answer to the sadness and the tears and the pain you cause us is for us to attend weddings.

And to bring new life into the world.

We Answer You With Life
Grandma Varda holds one-day old Shaked, the first child of her first son, named for the first flowering in Israel, the almond tree, Shaked.

And to be happy and loving, and so much wiser than you could ever be with your knives and your death and your hate.

8 thoughts on “We Answer You With Life”

          1. ahad_ha_amoratsim

            Amen! May the parents be privileged to raise Shaked to Torah, chupah and maasim tovim, and may you and your husband be privileged to be there and be a big part of Shaked’s life, and to have much nachas from this grandchild and many more.

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